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Construction on natural waterways causes urban flooding; Chief Minister Sindh

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 Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the city has witnessed an unprecedented record rainfall of 136 mm or 5 inches within 12 hours (8 pm to 8 am) and then after a brief break it started again till 11 am.

“Our storm water disposal system is not designed for such a heavy downpour; therefore, the system could not cater to the situation and on top of it the Arabian sea was in a state of high tide, therefore our storm water drains could not discharge the accumulated rainwater into it.”

This he said on Monday while talking to media at CM House just after visiting different areas of the city. Minister Information Sharjeel Inam Memon, Chief Secretary Sohial Rajput, Commissioner Karachi Iqbal Memon were present on the occasion.

Mr Shah said that the metrological dept had released the forecast for the rains, therefore he had assigned rain emergency duties to his cabinet members in different districts of the city.

“My ministers/advisors and special assistants are on the roads, but it was so heavy downpour (of 136 mm or 5 inches) that our storm water system could not cater to to such a huge urban flooding,” he said and added last night that the sea was in a state of high tide, therefore our nullas failed to discharge rainwater in the sea.

Mr Shah said that he has visited different areas of the city where civic agencies were busy in disposing of the accumulated water from roads.

“The water board has engaged all its over 80 cesspool vehicles for draining the accumulated water,” he said and added the Clifton pumping station was also working round the clock to dispose of accumulated water into the sea.

To a question, the chief minister said that in the city various government offices, media houses and various private establishments were constructed on the storm water drains. “It is unfortunate that we do not realize the results of such constructions,” he said and added the local government department was constructed on the storm water drain and he did not know when it was built.

Murad Ali Shah said that almost all the natural waterways of the city have either been encroached or allotted to housing societies, as a result their construction has blocked disposal of water.

He urged people of the city to voluntarily remove their constructions blocking the smooth flow of the water.

“I am admitting that the situation has become serious, but it is not as serious as it was in 2020,” the CM said and added during the heavy rains of 2020 he had visited the city and his vehicle had submerged at Shahrah-e-Faisal and he could not move ahead but this time the main arteries of the city were clear.

To a question, the chief minister said that he has directed the chief secretary to assess the losses of life, property, and others so that relief could be provided to the affected people. “The current heavy rains have claimed 29 valuable lives – I express my sympathies and condolence with the aggrieved families,” he said.

Mr Shah said that he has also directed the SSU urban Flooding unit to move their heavy vehicles to evacuate the people stuck up in the flooded areas. “The police along with the district administration are also helping people in the flooded areas,” he said.

Mr Shah said that the Met office has also predicted another spell of heavy rains for which he has issued instructions to the concerned civic agencies to get ready accordingly. He also urged people of the city to stay home until water was disposed of.

“During my visit to the city I witnessed the children playing in the puddle of rainwater and people taking their families on their bikes were roaming unnecessarily,” he said and added it was dangerous to allow the children to play in the puddles and travel the entire family on bikes in such a rainy situation.

The chief minister thanked Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif for calling him on telephone and asked him about the situation in the city and offered him every kind of help he needed from the federal government institutions.

Earlier, the chief minister along with Administrator Karachi Murtaza Wahab, Chief Secretary Sohail Rajput, Commissioner Karachi Iqbal Memon, Secretary Rehabilitation Asif Memon and MD Water Board visited different areas of the city, particularly the low-lying area of Pir Pagara Road right from Aga Khan to Old Sabzi Mandi, Saddar, Burns Road, Clifton, Sultanabad and witnessed water disposal work. He also visited Clifton pumping station. At Pumping station Minister Information Sharjeel Memon joined him.

The chief minister on completion of his visit to the city chaired a rain emergency meeting and directed the Divisional Commissioners, on video link, to ensure proper disposal of rainwater from the low-lying areas. He directed HESCO and SEPCO to provide uninterrupted power supply to the pumping stations so that rainwater could be pumped out.

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